When we go on a short trip, the Post Office holds our mail and packages from UPS and FedEx until we return. You can go on-line and request mail and package holds on the carriers websites. For longer trips like the Loop, there are a few options.

First, you can have your mail forwarded to a friend or relative and re-direct packages to them as well, then they can periodically send you your mail and packages when you will be at a marina for a few days. Note that the USPS requires that you go to your local post office in person to set up mail forwarding.

If you don’t have a friend or relative who can do this for you, there are services that will handle it for you. These services will receive your mail and packages, take a photo of the address label, and post it to a web portal for you to review. You can then ask them to open and scan the mail, recycle it, shred it, or hold it to forward to you later. When you know that you will be somewhere for a few days, you ask them to forward your mail to that address. It’s an excellent way to manage your mail while away and is not hugely expensive.

The most popular service for boaters (and RV’ers) is “Saint Brendan’s Isle” in Green Cove Springs, Florida. They are unique in that in addition to mail and package forwarding, if you want to, you can declare them your “Home Address” and register to vote, register your car, etc. Many of our live-aboard friends use this service as they do not have a dirt home to use as a permanent address.

Another excellent provider is “Traveling Mailbox.” This is our current provider, and we have been very happy with the service. I suggest using their main office in North Carolina as your address especially if you get packages, as they have a more extensive staff for processing.

We have also used a service called “Anytime Mailbox“. This is a national company that partners with local mailbox and package centers. They provide the web portal, and the local companies provide the service. The benefit here is that they have affiliates in many towns and cities in the US, so you can usually find one near your home. This lets you keep your forwarding local (this is important for UPS and FedEx packages), and you can go there to pick your mail up when you are home. We have used them in two locations (South Carolina and Florida) and have had excellent service. Because you are typically dealing with owner-run businesses, they are more than willing to accommodate special services.

Note: There is a company called iPostal1 that uses Staples Connect to process mail. (Staples as in the office supply company). We tried this service, and it was horrible. We had mail and packages go missing, there was no customer service, and as Staples copy centers are understaffed, it’s not uncommon to wait 30 minutes to pick up your mail.

The UPS Store is also an option. However, they do not open and scan mail, and if you forward, they only use UPS, which can be much more expensive than the USPS.

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